Clonakilla Riesling 2005

It pays to check on wines now and then. The slightly old Rieslings I’ve tasted lately are proof enough, and this wine continues the trend. I remember tasting this at cellar door and finding it a steelier, more austere style than the usual Clonakilla. I loved it and bought several, expecting it to age slowly.

Hence, I was quite surprised to smell this and find savoury toast the dominant aroma component. But it’s not a static wine, and the initial aroma soon disappeared, only to emerge half an hour later as a more complex profile comprising more toast, aggressively sour lime and a hint of honeyed opulence too. It’s beguiling, perhaps forceful, definitely characterful.
The palate is even more surprising. As an aside, people always say aged wines, and aged white wines in particular, are a matter of taste, and perhaps they are right. But there’s no doubt older wine is an education, and for my money a good aged Riesling (or Hunter Semillon) is worth cellaring purely to see how much it changes. This Clonakilla, for example, still shows powdery acidity, but a whole spectrum of bottle aged complexity overlays this firm structure. It’s not a very old wine, for sure, but hints of honey and savoury edge (the unkind might call it slightly kerosene-ish) push their way into the dominant blanket of lime marmalade and floral talc. Quite unexpected in terms of the austerity of the young wine. Intensity is dramatic and, although part of me is tempted to think of this wine as vulgar, I’ll settle for “confident.” Lovely and clean through the after palate, with a finish that lingers very well without undue weight or clumsiness. 
Quite a masculine Riesling style, and oh-so distinctive. It’s interesting to see various Australian regions offer alternatives to the mainstream Clare/Eden Riesling style. A wonderful thing from the drinker’s perspective. 
Price: $A22
Closure: Stelvin
Date tasted: July 2008

One thought on “Clonakilla Riesling 2005

  1. I’m having this again tonight, and it’s interesting to note how much the wine (or at least this bottle) has evolved. Still tight and structured, there’s nevertheless a much more evident layer of sweet, light honey. Drinking pretty darn well, actually. No hint of kero. Yum. Canberra Riesling is terribly underrated.

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